Frequently Asked Questions About St. Maarten Real Estate
1) Does St. Maarten have a Multi Listing System (MLS)?
No, St. Maarten does not have an MLS or central pricing/value database. This is where the importance of a reliable and knowledgeable agent comes into play as most websites on the island are not up to date and therefore do not give an accurate reflection of the pricing on the current market
2) Are there any property taxes when purchasing a property on the island?
First and foremost, there are no property taxes and no Capital Gains taxes on the Dutch Side (for now)!
Your general taxes depend on the country from which you receive your income and will vary based on your personal situation and country of residence. Usually owning a home here only possibly changes your tax situation if you become a St. Maarten resident or if your property here generates an income.
Taxes due are calculated depending on the way you purchase a property (in your name or a company or private fund for example). It also depends on your personal situation as well as how you would use your property.
3) What is the closing process and what are the fees?
When purchasing a property on St. Maarten, the closing takes place at a local Notary. The Notary here fulfills the role of a Closing Attorney in the United States. The Notary holds all the funds in escrow and once the title has been transferred and a new deed has been signed the Notary disperses the funds to the seller and other parties payable.
The closing fees include notary fees at about 2% and transfer taxes at 4%. In case you need a local mortgage to finance the purchase, you will get a separate mortgage deed at 1%.
So in total you have to count on about 6% or 7% additional fees to the agreed purchase price.
4) Do I have to physically be on St. Maarten to purchase a property?
No, the Notary can create a power of attorney so that the closing can take place while the seller or buyer is off island.
5) When is the hurricane season and what are the Insurance costs?
The hurricane season is officially from June 1st until November 30th but in the past most storms have occurred in the month of September. We do not get affected by hurricanes yearly, but the chance is there. The costs for hurricane insurance are 1.2-1.3% of the rebuild value of the property.
6) What are the rates for financing at local banks as a resident and as a non-resident?
When it comes to financing, interest here is currently around 5% but it pays off to shop around at several banks depending on the height of your down payment and financial stability.
The deposit for non-residents is about 30-50%. For residents this is about 20%.
7) What is the difference between purchasing on the Dutch Side or French Side?
There are a couple of differences when it comes to purchasing property on the Dutch Side or the French Side of the island.
- The Dutch Side has no Property Tax or Capital Gains Tax
- The French side has an annual Property Tax and a 33% Capital Gains Tax
- On the Dutch Side there are no mandatory inspections when purchasing a property
- On the French side there are many mandatory inspections which causes the sale process to take months longer than on the Dutch Side
- Closing fees on the Dutch Side are about 6%-7%
- Closing fees on the French Side are between 10%-19%
- On the Dutch Side the Government only has to approve the sale of the property when it comes to Government Long Lease Land.
- On the French side every property transfer has to be approved by the French Government leading to closings of minimum 3-4 months
8) How long does it take to purchase a property on St. Maarten?
In case of a cash transaction the title transfer can be done as quickly as in 3 weeks. In case of bank financing, this will take about 2-3 months (depending on how quickly all the necessary documentation is provided).
9) What is the investment potential of SXM?
The investment market on the island right now is blowing up with short term rentals. Lots of investment properties on Airbnb and VRBO are bringing in the highest ROI’s. Due to the island being tourism-based, the market for short term accommodation is very active and growing.
10) Does Island Dreams offer property management and vacation rental services?
Yes! Island Dreams Vacation is a department under Island Dreams that handles everything when it comes to property management and vacation rentals. From onboarding your unit to hosting services during every booking and ensuring a smooth turnover after every booking; IDV will do it all for you. Contact our colleague Jahlina for more information on our services and rates at firstname.lastname@example.org.
11) What are the best neighborhoods for short term rentals?
WEST (Simpson Bay, Cole Bay, Pelican Key, Maho, Cupecoy etc):
The west side is the place to be if you want to live close to entertainment and amenities. The west side houses a lot of investment properties that do short term rentals on Airbnb and VRBO and prices of properties are typically higher on the West side of the island. Being on the west side you have the best sunsets and you usually are at walking distance to most amenities. Keep in mind that in these areas you will likely be faced with traffic jams during the rush hours and the properties are usually situated closer to each other than on the East side.
EAST (Dawn Beach, Oyster Pond, Point Blanche etc):
On the East Side of the island, you are further away from the hussle and bussle and really get that feel of being secluded. These neighborhoods are seen as up-scale and many local business owners and politicians live in these neighborhoods. Being on the east side offers the best sunrises and a truly serene experience. Please do note that from these neighborhoods it does require about a 10 minute drive to get to the closest supermarkets, restaurants, pharmacies etc.
12) How long can I stay on Sint Maarten without a resident permit?
It depends on your nationality. Dutch and US nationals can stay on the island up to 180 days before needing a residency permit. For all other nationalities you can stay up to 90 days without a residency permit.
13) What language do they speak on Sint Maarten?
Dutch is the official language on the Dutch Side and French is the official language on the French side. However, almost everyone on the island speaks English. On the French Side you will actually hear a lot of French and commercials are in French as well, while on the Dutch Side you mostly hear and see English. Spanish is common as well.
14) What currency is used on the Island?
The Dutch official currency is Guilders (NAF) and on the French side it is the Euro, however all businesses take USD and it is the preferred currency for trade. The exchange rate for Guilder is set at 1.82. The Euro exchange is market rates, however a lot of French businesses take the Euro at par with the US dollar.
15) What is the correct spelling of St/Sint/Saint Martin/Maarten/Marteen?
The Dutch side is Sint Maarten, the French side is Saint Martin. The island is commonly referred to as SXM (country code)
We hope this information helps, but please feel free to reach out to us if there are still any unanswered questions! We hope to see you on the island soon!